Charlie (‘Carlota’) Allen pays us a visit from over the border in Spain. She farms 15 hectares of old vines around Fermoselle above the Douro / Duero (see my entry for 20th January 2010 for more information). We have a feast of a dinner at Tomba Lobos in her honour with some fellow Alentejo wine producers and oenophiles: lingua de vitela (veal tongue), frogs legs, toucinho (deliciously fatty bacon), escabeche de perdiz (partridge escabeche), molejas de borego, local truffles (so called ‘spring mushrooms’), venison, cabeça de vaca (‘cow’s head). Everyone brought a couple of bottles of wine. The surprises of the evening were a Cartuxa Branco 1991, still fresh and recognisably Roupeiro after 19 years, a bottle of Platano Velho 1999, from the co-op at Alijó which had held up well. However the stars of the evening were perhaps to be expected: a bottle of Charles Heidseick n/v brought with me from the UK, a powerful Quinta do Mauro (gold label) 2002 and Charlie Allen’s dense, fine-grained yet voluptuous Pirita 2007. I must reserve myself a case of this to cellar in the UK.
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty